San Diego’s most educational website for buyers of Downtown San Diego condos www.LiveAtTheTop.com
. First time visitors should start with the "Selection Guide" menu button on the left, answer some multiple choice questions and the my software will recommend some San Diego condo buildings based on your criteria. Another suggestion is to start by clicking on the "San Diego Neighborhoods" button, read the neighborhood overviews then select some San Diego condos from the list within the neighborhoods you like.
The Future of Downtown San Diego Real Estate:
Selection of condos available for sale in San Diego will continue to be tight. Just over 2% of the total condo market is up for sale (roughly 250 for sale out of 10,000 total condos). No new condos will be built in downtown San Diego and ready for occupancy until 2016 or beyond. There will continue to be more and more San Diego condo shoppers chasing fewer condos until we get some additional inventory built. The development of the western waterfront will make the condos in the Columbia neighborhood more desirable.
Top 10 Questions Asked by San Diego Condo Shoppers:
1. Q. What's the best condo building in downtown San Diego?
A. If by best, you mean highest quality, then the answer is the Bayside condos
, rounding out the top five highest quality San Diego condo buildings in alphabetical order are Electra
, Park Laurel
2. Q. What's downtown San Diego’s best neighborhood to live in?
A. This is very very subjective. To answer this I need to know how you rank your preferences for views, walk-ability, tolerable noise level (planes, trains, people, etc), proximity to shopping, etc.
If you want the prime views, which usually include bay views, then you want to be in either the Columbia
neighborhoods which have a lot of condos located as close to the waterfront as zoning allows. The quietest downtown San Diego neighborhood is Cortez.
3. Q. What's the best way to shop for a downtown San Diego condo?
A. The best way is to tell me as much as you can about what your looking for in a condo, info such as size, how much you like to walk, what you want to be close to, number of bedrooms and or bathrooms, how important a view is, amenities you would like to have in the building, budgeted price range, etc. Since your visiting my website, I can tell you like to do some research on your own. My number one on line suggestion, would be to visit the automated “Selection Guide” listed in the above menu (in red). Answer ten multiple choice questions and I have built a program to recommend some condo buildings based on your answers. Be realistic in your answers or it will not be able to find any buildings that fit your preferences. In other words, don’t say you want “great views” and also say you want a “low price range” because that combination does not exist.
One thing I would caution against is to shop by price alone, there are a lot of inexpensive condos downtown and each come with their share of reasons why they are so inexpensive, reasons that may lead you to not wanting to live in a particular building. I think its best to start with your wish list and if you need to reprioritize it until you find a condo that meets this criteria and your budget.
4. Q. Are there a lot of foreclosures (bank owned) condos for sale in downtown San Diego?
A. As a percent of the total, foreclosures represented 1.7% of the downtown condo sales in 2013. All but one of them were under $500,000. Reason for the concentration in the lower price range is that's what investors were buying a few years ago, inexpensive condos, often with 100% financing and now they are just giving them back to the bank since they are worth less than their mortgage. The upper end buyers in years past had to make a larger down payment and are often owner occupied, two reasons for keeping owners in their condos today. It is becoming very rare to see a foreclosure of even a short sale come on the market as we enter into 2014.
5. Q. How much of a discount should I ask for off the list price?
A. Buyers of condos in downtown San Diego are getting an average discount of 3.0% off the last asking price, for condos sold in 2014, so keep this in mind when making an offer. I was quoted in the July 2010 issue of Money magazine saying your starting offer should be 10% below the current asking price, they did not print my next comment which was to expect to get half of that (5% off). Times have changed and asking for a 10% discount these days just might insult the sellers and result in a rejection of your offer with out a counter.
6. Q. What is the average asking price of a condo in downtown San Diego?
A. As of June 2014, $779,433. The average sale price per square fooot was up 11.4% through YTD May 2014 vs same period in in 2013.
7. Q. What is the average HOA fee on a San Diego condo?
A. In a low rise building with out full time staff on site (other than cleaning staff) the HOA fee is about $400/month, for a typical 2 bedroom 2 bath condo. In a high rise building, which typically have a lot of on site staff, the average fee is about $800/month.
8. Q. Are you allowed to have pets in downtown condos?
A. Yes, almost every building allows pets, most all have a limit of two. Some San Diego condominiums have weight limits and breed restrictions for dogs.
9. Q. How much are property taxes on a condo in San Diego?
A. The state of California has a base tax rate of 1.0%, then on top of that are local taxes for things like schools, street lights, the downtown "clean and safe" program, etc. Add all those up and its about 1.2% of the purchase price due every year.
10. Q. Where can I find a list of San Diego condos for rent?
A. Surprisingly there are more San Diego condos listed for rent on www.craigslist.org than in the MLS. Most condo owners do not want to involve real estate agents in their quest for a new tenant. One exception is the high end rental market, those units above $4,000/month, often these units are only listed with Realtors in the MLS.
Bonus Question. Q. Why should I work with a RE/MAX Agent?
A. RE/MAX has the most productive sales force in real estate averaging more transactions per agent than any of our national competitors and almost twice as many as our closet competitor, this happens year after year. Our office has been in downtown for over 15 years, were experts on downtown.
As a resident of the Historic Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood in downtown San Diego for over 15+ years I know the condo market better than most. Please call, email, or drop by my downtown office and let me know how I may assist you in selling or buying your downtown San Diego condo